Unplugged metal? Don’t fret, it’s not a nuclear meltdown — just Jason Newsted making a move.
Newly on tour, Jason Newsted and The Chophouse Band will perform a free 10 p.m. show Friday in the Crown Room at Crystal Bay Casino for fans 21 or older.
A Grammy Award winner, Newsted was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a bassist for Metallica from 1986 to 2001. He left the band amid in-house politics involving a side project.
In 1992, Newsted founded the Chophouse Records Studio in San Francisco “to assemble friends and comrades from other established acts and groups to have a special place to enjoy chasing ideas and sounds, having fun playing pure and wild music on breaks and downtime, mixing up wicked musical soup away from rigorous touring schedules and agendas,” the new group’s online bio says. Thus, The Chophouse Band was born.
“Now, after 25 years of playing host to a diverse array of talent from varying genres, The Chophouse Band is finally offering a sampling of the musical flavors that have been cooking in these exclusive sessions and personal projects.”
Newsted, 53, plays acoustic guitar and sings lead vocals in The Chophouse Band, which closed an inaugural show July 16 at the Red House in Walnut Creek, California, with a rendition of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land.” (So far, the band has shown a penchant for red venues.)
In a July 22 Mighty Fine Guitars live webcast hosted by Stevie Coyle, Newsted explained the switch to performing acoustic instead of metal.
“After 30 years of playing heavy music and traveling around the world — I’ve been around the globe about five and a half times, 55 countries — I’ve already climbed that mountain; there is no more of that mountain to be climbed.
“… I always want to play music. I have to have it in me every day and if I don’t I’ll go mad, literally. Anybody that knows me knows that. And so now I play this. I find myself being able to expose myself to more people. I’d say age 4 to age 94 can listen to this music. How can’t you like Johnny Cash? How can’t you like ‘Will The Circle Be Unbroken?’ You have to like those songs, American music like that.”
The frontman is “accompanied by close friends and musicians of all walks and styles, sharing some great American songs from familiar and unfamiliar heroes,” the online bio says.
Members of The Chophouse Band, a rotating cast, reside across across the country and include Chris Barnett, Mike Hughes, Tom Jordan, Joe Ledesma, David Lopez, Jesus Mendez, G.E. Perez, Mike Ramos, Brian Sagrafena, Angeline Saris, Chris Scianni, Amir Tal and Rob Tucker.
“These and many others may be featured in any given performance of Jason Newsted and The Chophouse Band.”